How Smurfs Were Born

This week in Barcelona, the movie Smurfs has been released. While enquiring about the movie I came across this interesting story about the birth of Smurfs.

Belgian comic artist Peyo (Pierre Culliford) (1924 – 1992) has been touted as the chief creator of Smurfs (or Les Schtroumpfs in French). The character Smurf appeared in a Belgian comic series ‘Johan et Piroulit’ in the episode La Flûte à six trous, in the magazine Le Journal de Spirou in October, 1958. However the idea was born during a casual lunchtime conversation between Peyo (Pierre Culliford) and Andre Franquin (1927 – 1992), another famous Belgian comic artist.

It was summer of 1958 and Peyo and Franquin were having lunch while enjoying their coastal vacations. Suddenly Peyo asked Fran

Pierre Culliford "Peyo" (1924 - 1992)

quin to pass him something but momentarily forgot the name. So he asked, “Give me…….Smurfs“. According to Peyo he had created the word to mean ‘a thin, anything, any thingy’ – whatever. Franquin replied, “Here you have Smurfs, when you are through smurfing, you resmurf it for me”. It became a common joke for them and they spent a few days ‘Smurfing’. In their free time they recited classic french fables by La Fontaine and Racine in their  ‘Smurfed’ versions. It gave them sentences like, “Master Smurf on a smurfed tree had a smurf in his smurf”. And so on…..

Eventually by autumn Smurf had appeared in their comic series and in a few decades it emerged as one of the most successful comic series franchises of all times. An interesting example of where ideas come from.

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One thought on “How Smurfs Were Born

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